Culture

All Hail the Queens

The flamboyant queen is the black sheep of the LGBT 'family'. Cross the line into full drag, and the family declares you to be fabulous; just be a bit swishy with a propensity to wear scarves and a touch of make-up, and you're open game for ridicule, ostracism, and violence.

Queen Phobia in the Gay Community

In fact, it can be dangerous. It has long been a taunt for those who gay bash that they are compensating for latent feelings. Now, researchers have shown that taunt may have some validity. According to a 2007 study published in Sex Roles, men who view themselves as having some feminine characteristic (be it speech, mannerism, or physical trait) were most likely to react negatively to the same characteristic in gay men, thus putting these men at "particular risk". Consequently, one can conclude, goading such men by pointing out the very thing they are acting against is likely to increase their anger. Of course, not taunting them doesn't seem to help the situation, either. (Glick, Gangl, Gibb, Klumpner, and Weinberg, "Defensive Reactions to Masculinity Threat: More Negative Affect Toward Effeminate [but not Masculine] Gay Men")

As if being a queen doesn't expose oneself to enough discrimination from the straight community, there's also the prejudice that exists among gay men. A 2010 study found that masculinity is an important construct for many gay men, as is the desire for a masculine romantic partner. Further, researchers found that even when men felt that had more masculine than feminine traits, they still desired to be more masculine. Given these facts, it isn't surprising that there is a correlation between how highly a gay man values masculinity and his ability to be affectionate with another man, a decidedly un-masculine act. (Sánchez, Westefeld, Liu, Ming, and Vilain, "Masculine gender role conflict and negative feelings about being gay", Professional Psychology: Research and Practice)

"Butch" lesbians don't face the same stigma, however. In fact, some lesbians find that being labeled "butch" is actually liberating. Researchers Heidi M. Levitt and Katherine R. Hiestand determined that, among lesbians, the perception was that "there is no single correct way to be butch"; in other words, there is an absence of specific gender characteristics assigned to the butch role. This allows women who perceive themselves to be masculine in identity to develop those aspects of their personalities and lifestyles that are most comfortable, without the pressure to adopt behaviors that are discomforting. ("A Quest for Authenticity: Contemporary Butch Gender", Sex Roles, May 2004)

Further, countless studies have confirmed that "masculine" personality traits actually help women succeed in their careers, provided the women remain somewhat feminine in appearance. Women who are perceived as feminine in personality tend to be passed over for promotions, as the thought is that they aren't tough enough to do the hard and sometimes disagreeable work of being a leader.

Thus, it seems that the demographic group that still suffers the most in today's society, as least in terms of gender identification, is the group that would inspire Tracy Morgan to murder. This isn't to imply that all segments of the LGBT community don't face their own set of prejudices, but it seems that the flamboyant queen is the black sheep of the LGBT "family". Cross the line into full drag, and the family declares you to be fabulous; just be a bit swishy with a propensity to wear scarves and a touch of make-up, and you're open game for ridicule, ostracism, and violence.

The next time some misguided comedian makes cracks about flamers -- and there will be a next time -- perhaps the correct response isn't to defend the ranks of gay men by proving how macho we can all be. The correct response may be to put on our size 10 sling-back pumps, all of us whether masculine or effeminate, and show up en masse at said comedian's house, armed with nail files and attitude... "We’re here, we're reaaaal queer, so bring it, tough guy."

Cheers, Queers to New York for legalizing gay and lesbian marriage, but also to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, which recognized the equal rights of LGBT persons, allowing the UN to officially collect information on discrimination and abuse from around the world.

Here's Mud in Your Eye to those, such as the Bishop E. W. Jackson, Jr., on his Stand website, who complained that activist judges were usurping the wishes of the people. In New York, the representatives of the people approved marriage rights, so now some of these opponents want to take the battle back before those "activist judges".

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